Myrtle Beach moves toward solution for Baldwin Lane parking

Phil Render said the Myrtle Beach City Council has agreed to what he believes will be a solution to complaints of residents near HGTC’s Grand Strand Campus that students are taking all the available spaces on their street.

Residents are pleased that the city and the school are trying to solve their problem, but at least one thinks it won’t do any good.

Ed Hunter, a Sweetgrass resident and a former Vermont state trooper, believes students will continue to use Baldwin Lane to park, and that the solution forwarded by Render will fail. In fact, Hunter said, the Baldwin Lane parking situation will get worse as new Sweetgrass residents with just one parking space at their homes move other vehicles to Baldwin.

Render, who is a city councilman and dean of health services at Horry-Georgetown Technical College, said other council members have agreed to let the students park in a seldom-used field across Baldwin from the Sweetgrass homes.

Much of the field is closer to the Spier Health Sciences Building than most of Baldwin Lane, and Render said that notices about the new parking area will be posted on the school’s Internet communications network and health professors will urge their students to use it.

Render said a new curb cut will be needed to accommodate the parking, and he hopes either the college alone or the city and college in partnership will fund the work. There are no plans yet for paving the field. Render called the plan transitional while a new parking area is being built.

He said the space could be opened for parking by the end of this semester or early next semester.

Hunter said two colleges were in his patrol area in Vermont, and that experience has made him sure that students will still flood Baldwin Lane with their vehicles.

Not all residents agree.

Larry Maiolo said Render’s plan means students using the field to park will have shorter walks to classes and give residents the spaces in front of their homes. He said there’s room in his garage for his pickup, but he needs to park on the street if he has groceries or other things to be unloaded.

“I understand,” he said about students who park on Baldwin. “They have to go to school.”

But, he and other residents have noted, there is a school lot two blocks away that usually has empty parking spaces in it.

Student Abby Singleton said her last day of class was Thursday, but she would have used the field if it had been available. She said she drove around a lot her first day of school before finding a space on Baldwin and has used the area for parking ever since.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Sweetgrass resident April Haskell wrote in an email. Haskell led an effort earlier this year to bring attention to the situation and try to get a solution. “I hope they use it.”

But she added that she believes residents would still appreciate residents-only parking signs for the spaces in front of the homes.

Jack Greer would agree.

He too is pleased that the city is trying to resolve the issue, but he says there was something wrong with the city’s argument that they can’t restrict parking because it’s a public street and the spaces are public parking spaces.

“If it’s open to everybody,” he asked, “why isn’t it open to us?”